Yudof Addresses State’s Budget Proposal
In response to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s proposed budget for 2009-10, UC President Mark G. Yudof warned that without adequate funding, UC will risk losing its preeminence among institutions of higher education, and the State of California could face a less well-educated workforce.
“At both the state and federal levels, investment in human capital is the best investment our elected leaders can make to stimulate economic recovery,” Yudof said. “Public higher education in California has a proud record of contributing richly to our state’s economic development by providing the educated workforce and research innovations that are critical for economic vitality.”
The governor’s budget proposal for 2009-10 does not provide the funding increase sought by the UC Regents in order to fund enrollment growth, cover increasing energy costs and other inflationary costs, and prevent a student fee increase at UC. Coming on top of the historic underfunding that has affected all segments of public higher education in California, this absence of funding will create substantial challenges for the university.
According to Yudof, the outlook is not entirely bleak, however. The budget avoids dramatically deeper cuts from present levels for the university’s core academic operations, and it includes some bond funding for critical facilities projects.
“I believe these actions signify the governor’s understanding of higher education’s role in stimulating economic recovery,” Yudof said.
The budget does include an assumption of substantial student fee increases — as much as 9.3 percent — for 2009-10, which will greatly impact many families. The Regents will discuss these issues before settling on final fee levels. “We will seek to preserve affordability to the greatest extent possible given the multiple financial pressures on the state and the university,” Yudof said.
The budget proposal that the Regents presented to state legislators for 2009-10 had requested a 23 percent funding boost, which Yudof described as “a dose of reality.”
“The reality is that while the cost of educating UC students has gone up dramatically, the state’s inflation-adjusted support for those students has declined dramatically — 40 percent since 1990,” he said.
According to Yudof, the budget proposal approved by the Regents in November represents the true cost of running UC and maintaining it as an “economic engine and beacon of excellence.”
Yudof has cited the downsizing of administrative staff at the Office of the President and the recently launched accountability initiative as examples of UC’s continuing efforts to improve cost efficiencies and demonstrate the public’s return on their investment in UC.
“The University of California and its partners in higher education are a major driver in economic activity in this state,” he said.
“Every California industry, from agriculture to technology to medicine, relies on UC innovations and partnerships to stay competitive in the global economy. We create jobs and we are training the workforce of the future,” Yudof said.